Hawkins BOE takes steps to make up more 'rain days' if needed

Jeff Bobo • Mar 10, 2019 at 11:30 AM

ROGERSVILLE — Hawkins County Schools always stockpiles 11 days in its calendar to meet the minimum 185 for the school year in case of snow days, even though rainouts have been a big problem this year.

Although some days were lost after a heavy snow in December, the big culprits that kept students at home in February were rain and mud, which cost six days and put the system over its limit.

Director of Schools Matt Hixson told the Board of Education Thursday he is anticipating approval of a waiver from the Tennessee Department of Education excusing those three days it has missed this school year beyond the 11 stockpiled snow days.

“They have been very responsible and they are likely getting a lot of requests from school systems across the state,” Hixson said.

“With the governor declaring a state of emergency, they’ll be sympathetic,” BOE Chairman Bob Larkins noted.

However, that would leave the system with no buffer, and there’s still a possibility of missing more days because of either snow or rain.

As a result, on Thursday the BOE took steps to make up another four school days if needed.

Hixson noted that the principals were asked to help develop some options for making up more days.

Of the four options presented to the BOE Thursday, the board chose two, but only if needed.

The board voted to give Hixson the authority to turn the May 22 teacher in-service day into a student school day if necessary, as well as to add a half-hour to the school day after spring break to generate another three days.

That additional time would add one day every 13 days, and Hixson said if that option becomes necessary it would be implemented the week after spring break. The 30 minutes would be split, with 15 minutes added to the beginning of the day and 15 at the end.

The two options that weren’t approved included changing Good Friday (April 19) into a school day and turning May 23, two days before graduation, into a school day, which would make May 24 an abbreviated day.

“We haven’t seen much snow — at least I have not. But we have seen lots of rain, and it has resulted in us going above our stockpiled days,” said Hixson, who added that he’s hoping he won’t have to enact either option.

“If we do get the waiver, we won’t have to enact either one, but we do have the flexibility, with your approval, to do so if needed.”

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